I came across an advertisement that caught my eye. Within it a phrase boldly made the declaration, “Love does not have any labels.” The commercial sought to open minds to rethinking the way we look at same-sex attraction. Well, without further ado, let us jump in and explore.
Opinion vs Truth
It is no secret that I’m a Christian and I use the WORD of God to lead me towards the truth in life. Everyone has an opinion, I have a lot of my own, and many are likely wrong. Romans 3:4 tells us “...let God be true, but every man a liar ...” When it comes to God, His perspective is what we call the truth, therefore to find the truth; I allowed myself to explore this statement(“Love does not have any labels”) in the light of the love the Jesus and the Bible.
We do have labels
The first thing that came to me is that there are a lot of labels in general that we put on romantic relationships. Here are some labels that came to mind. Be mindful that I am just listing labels, not promoting or condemning, but I’m sure there will be clear differences in the labels for you to see. We use labels such as, “Jungle Fever” to label interracial black and white relationships. We use labels such as a “Cougar” to label an older female who is attracted to a younger male. We use labels such as a pedophile to describe an adult who finds children to be sexually attractive. We use labels such as bestiality to describe sexual interactions between a human and an animal. And of course, we use the term “gay marriage” to label a covenant relationship between homosexual couples. Once again, I repeat these relationships are clearly different, and I’m not putting them all in the same category, I am simply generally listing some labels that we put on love relationships that are different from what we have been used to.
What about God?
With a list of labels in one hand and my Bible in another, figuratively speaking, I was led to an even deeper question. I asked myself, “does the idea of labeling any type of love or setting boundaries on love have any Biblical foundation”? Once again, as a Christian, I’m searching the Bible (and you should be too) because I have only opinions and God has the truth, and; the truth is found in his WORD, through the proper interpretation provided by the Holy Spirit. We know that many things from slavery to inhumane treatment of women have been wrongly justified by using the Bible out of context. Heck, even Satan quoted scriptures to attempt to get Jesus distracted. Therefore, it is not just enough to pull out a scripture, the Holy Spirit needs to illuminate the WORD of God for us(John 16:13).
Drawing the line
In my search through the Bible I found that love for the sake of love did not automatically give someone a free pass for their actions, nor did it give consent to the relationship. I repeat, the defense of “I’m in love therefore I’m doing the right thing,” did not seem to be supported by the Bible.
I quickly found many boundaries outlined in relationship to love in the Bible. The first boundary that stuck out was outlined in the most important love relationship, our relationship with God. In the Bible God tells us that we should not be in love with any other God’s but Him. This is also the first of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20). This is also related to the concept of adultery because just as we are to be committed to God alone spiritually speaking, physically we also are to be committed to our earthly partner alone. You will soon find that (as my father: Jeff Labala says) every spiritual reality has a physical manifestation. Last but not least, God also draws boundaries around male and female relationship forbidding sexual relationships outside of the confines of marriage(Hebrew 13:4).
Sex and Fire
If you read the Bible you will soon find through it’s stories, and proverbs, and laws, that sex is like a fire. Yes, sex is like a raging fire; in the boundaries of a fireplace it will keep you warm, safe, and comfortable, but if you allow it outside of the fireplace that fire can burn your whole house down and leave you in a world of pain and grief. This is why sex outside of the boundaries of a committed male and relationship is a fire that has burned many. Like a natural fire, it not only burns those involved, but other innocent bystanders get burned too.
Children get burned. Innocent little boys get burned as studies show a strong correlation between boys born outside of marriage and criminal behaviors that start in childhood and continue into adulthood. Little girls are burned as from my personal work experience, an astronomical percentage of girls who end up in human trafficking in Baltimore City come from broken homes where the parents are not married, or there is no father in the home. Bodies get burned as hundreds of thousands of people are literally burning from sexually transmitted diseases and infections because they took the fire out of the fireplace. Lives are getting burned, as very sadly a large number of LGBT youth are committing suicide( source) at a 4 times greater rate (400%) than their straight counterparts. Even the great Father Abraham in the Bible got burned as he slept with Hagar stepping outside of God’s WILL. The fire that Abraham started still burns today and hasn’t gone on. We see this in the Middle East crisis where the fires from suicide bombers literally burns daily. These suicide bombers are the descendants of Ishmael, the son born from Hagar, the handmaid of Sarai that Abraham slept with(Genesis 16).
Sex vs Love
So does love have labels? Well, you tell me. Labels are used to categorize things that are meaningfully different. God loves all His children the same (though He is not always pleased with our behaviors). The Bible tells us that in Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, free or slave, and we can add Black or White, upper class or lower class, Republican or Democrat; we are all one in Christ. This means He(God) loves us all the same and therefore gives us all the same boundaries by which we are to express intimate love for one another.
Sex is not love, love is not sex. When the world hears love, they automatically think sex and these words are not synonyms. Sex is not meant for everyone that you love. Parents love their children, but shouldn’t seek to express it through sex. A parent may use the channel of sacrifice to express love to their children. A football coach may love his high school field hockey players, but shouldn’t seek to express that love to them through the channel of sex. A football coach may show his students love through the channel of dedicated support and words of praise. A man can love another man(brother-brother, son-father, friend-friend), and this love is not any less because they are not having sex. Men can share love with men through the channel of leisure activities. Sex and love are different. Sex is an exclusive channel reserved for a certain type of love relationship. God wants us to love everyone and we are all free to love anyone we want, but God strongly reminds those who don’t want to get burned that the channel of sex should only be used to express love within a committed covenant (marriage) relationship between a man and a woman.
True freedom in boundaries
We can see that from a spiritual perspective which is also true for the physical world, boundaries are meant to keep us safe and truly free. Ask yourself, who has more freedom of time, the person driving within the boundaries of the speed limit, or the person driving as fast they want(to save time), who ends up in jail(doing time) because they have crashed and killed someone? Who has more freedom financially, a person spending within the boundaries of their budget, or someone spending money that they don’t have, in mountains of credit card debt, and a slave to their creditors? Who has more freedom in their range of motion, a child wearing a helmet on their bicycle, or a child without one who falls and cracks their head, and is bed ridden for months in the hospital? Who has more freedom, the angels who kept loyal to God, or the ones who are being held in chains in the abyss awaiting God’s judgment because they stepped across the boundary lines that God laid out (2 Peter 2:4)? Like sound rules in the physical world, God’s laws are to protect us and actually give us more freedom, not restrict it. When we realize that true freedom comes only from being in the WILL of God, we will not see His laws as rigid boundaries, but a rose petal path set out by the lover of our souls to lead us into life; His life. This is why Jesus puts it this way in Matthew 7:13-14, “ Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. ”
Jesus is awesome
Yes, no one is perfect, I’ve messed up, you have, and I’m sure we all have in different but significant ways. The beauty of Jesus is that He does not comes to point the finger and tell you how wrong you are. NO! No one should feel condemned reading this article. John 3:17 tells us, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. ” The beauty of Jesus is that He comes to shine the light, share the truth, and set us free. In Jesus we can always begin again, and in Jesus we can love and be loved like never before.
God's boundaries are not rigid rules but are like rose petals laid out by the lover
of our soul to lead us into Life; Life with Him.